The Creation and Demise of the Knights Templar

In 2009 Carson Taylor Wheet prepared a Bachelor’s Thesis for the University of Arizona, USA. Her thesis investigates the Order of the Knights Templar by examining the varied phenomena that led to the formation of the Order in the early twelfth century and its dissolution nearly two hundred years later.

Since the demise of the Order has recently received a great deal of attention in both historical scholarship and popular culture, the author analyzes and critiques numerous theories concerning the trial of the Templars. She contextualizes it by revealing the causes for the Order’s creation. An array of primary and secondary sources was used to explain why each event occurred despite being unpopular with a significant portion of Christian officials. 

The author ultimately contends that most of the aforementioned theories are insufficient to explain the rise and fall of the Order because they fail to grasp the complexity of each event. The Templars’ creation resulted from a lengthy theological justification for a unique form of Christian holy war, papal ambitions, and a palpable ethos of fear and violence within Christendom that was redirected against an external enemy. Their demise stemmed from secular ambitions, relative papal weakness, and a unique blend of social fears, legal standards, and organizational rules that proved extremely deleterious in their trial.


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